July 25, 2014
Posted By: Sheri

DSC_5248-copy2When Marc and I first started MSLK back in 1998, I was armed and ready with lots of training as graphic designer. However, like almost every other design business owner before me, I’d never received any training on how to run a business, much less a graphic design business, which has its own unique challenges.

My formal training had shown me how to translate the spoken and unspoken needs of a business into compelling visuals. I could simplify messaging, choose the right typeface, colors, and imagery, but I barely knew how to guide a client through that process. After all, I wasn’t pulling a prefabricated design off the shelf, but rather creating something unique for each client and starting from scratch each time.

So that’s how I sold creative. We are going to create something unique and custom-tailored just for you. It will never have been done before because it’s just for you. Then I’d show them all the beautiful visuals in my portfolio of lovely artifacts I had created for other clients. If I was lucky there was a solution in there that was similar to a challenge the prospective client was experiencing. Then I could talk about that similarity; but mostly what I was selling was style alone. I was also inadvertently selling risk. Take a chance with us because we are so innovative and creative we don’t have a set process.

It was around this time that some colleagues, Marc, and I started the group Spark. Spark is a group of design business owners who get together each month to talk about the issues relevant to running a design firm. Instantly, I saw a few themes emerge:
1. Every design business owner felt exactly the same as we did, and were experiencing the same challenges.
2. All of them were trained as graphic design practitioners with little to no experience running a business.
3. Each designer was inventing his or her own solutions, akin to silently working on reinventing the wheel without even knowing that a wheel exists.
4. Everyone was lonely and sought more camaraderie and support. Read more

December 18, 2013
Posted By: Marc

mslk-Choose-Better-Products-5For anyone who has followed our eco-art installations over the years, you know that public health and environmental awareness has been a big concern for MSLK. This past summer, we created “Choose Better Projects” a project designed to raise awareness about a seemingly benign substance, triclosan, which is used in a variety of household products. Triclosan (or its chemically-similar cousin Triclocarban) is marketed as an anti-bacterial agent, and is the main active ingredient in all antibacterial soap. The effectiveness of Triclosan to actually kill harmful bacteria has been called into question. No one is sure if it’s even as effective as washing your hands with regular soap. Far worse than the possibility that this may not even perform as it was intended, very strong evidence suggests that it can cause direct harm to humans, and indirect harm to the environment.

This week the FDA announced that it is proposing a new rule to force manufacturers to prove that their products are safe as well as effective. This is a huge step that we fully applaud! The risks far outweigh to benefits to ignore a healthy debate. For more information, you can read here:

NY Times

NBC News

CNN

September 30, 2013
Posted By: Marc


We are honored, flattered and humbled to be featured in the new Phaidon book, Wild Art. Our eco-art installation, Urban Tumbleweeds, is included in the section titled, “Wasting Away”. Jeremy Mayer kicks off the section with the quote, “We’re going to make a lot more junk, and there’s going to be a lot more junk art. I think people are going to have a lot to say about it, and more people need to think about it.” We couldn’t agree more.

Read more

October 22, 2012
Posted By: Marc

 

Last week we were delighted once again to be a part of the Annual Teen Design Fair produced by the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum, featuring keynote speaker Tim Gunn. Every year teens from all around NYC are invited to learn about careers from over thirty professionals working in the fields of fashion, industrial, multi-media and graphic design as well as architecture. This was our fifth year taking part of this amazing event, allowing us to meet the future stars of our profession, while we offer advice we’ve learned over the course of our profession.

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September 18, 2012
Posted By: MSLK


MSLK’s eco-art installation, Watershed, and our environmental business commitment have both been featured in The Design Activist’s Handbook, by Noah Scalin and Michelle Taute. We are honored to be included alongside such luminaries as James Victore, Steven Heller, and Milton Glaser. The book not only contains inspiring case-studies, but illustrates strategies for incorporating activist projects and thinking into a sound design practice. It’s a great guide for designers wanting to create socially-conscious work. Read more

April 19, 2012
Posted By: Sheri

Earth conscientious students at Smithton Middle School in Columbia, Missouri have recreated MSLK’s eco-art installation, Watershed. The installation was created by the Eco-Art Club and 6th grade Art Study Hall students. Several months ago, Amy H. Company, Art Specialist at Smithton Middle School read about MSLK’s eco-art installations Take-Less, Watershed, and Urban Tumbleweeds and became inspired. Amy reached out to MSLK asking if it would be ok if she led the students through the process of  recreating Watershed.

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February 22, 2012
Posted By: Marc

Over the years MSLK has had some truly gifted, inspired, and inspiring interns work in our studio. We find the experience to be rewarding and in many senses a way of giving back, showing others what we’ve learned over the years that has helped make our work award-winning.

Some of our best interns have been the youngest, and last year was no exception. We hosted a summer internship with a young gentleman named Leon Robinson as part of the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum’s 2011 Design Prep Scholar’s program. He worked with us to develop Read the Label, a self-initiated awareness campaign/eco-art project about the harmful ingredients found in everyday products.

The video above features Mr. Robinson recounting his experience here along with many other bright designers of tomorrow telling about their experiences. Congrats to all!

January 11, 2012
Posted By: Ryan


MSLK is honored and humbled to have received two of the nine AIGA Making the Case Awards for our projects, Watershed and Figment 360° Branding. Beyond the mere beauty pageant that is the average design competition, “Making the Case” selects case studies that “demonstrate the value of design in a clear, compelling and accessible way” to clients and society. Given recent economic trends, now more than ever it is important for non-designers to understand how great design leads to business growth and/or positive societal change. Read more

November 22, 2011
Posted By: Ryan


As the holiday season rapidly approaches, MSLK is once again offering something useful to make the gift giving process fun and easy. Introducing our Customizable Holiday Cards, which are now on sale at our Felt and Wire shop. Use these cards to create your own message for all holiday occasions. Get a set now.

New Yorkers can purchase a set at Teich in the West Village. Mention MSLK and receive a 15% discount!

 


October 14, 2011
Posted By: Ryan


We would like to hear your opinion on an idea for our newest eco-art installation.

Did you ever consider all of the products you use as part of your daily routine? Soaps, cleaners, air fresheners, shampoos, moisturizers—all are seemingly innocuous items that have become accepted cultural norms.  Rarely do we stop to consider whether the ingredients in these products are 100% safe.

As designers, we at MSLK are committed to using our talents to make the public aware of environmental issues facing the world today. Our eco-art installations: Urban Tumbleweeds, Watershed, and Take-Less focused on the dangers of our mass consumption of single-use plastics.  These plastic products seem harmless as you use them one at a time, but over time the refuse accumulates. Similarly, we wonder about all those unnatural ingredients in our beauty and personal care products. How does the accumulation of what we put on our skin, our largest organ, affect our health as a whole?
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FEATURED CASE STUDIES